Violation of by-laws in KMC advertisement department

KMCKARACHI: The violation of by-laws in erection of signboards and billboards, which resulted in mushrooming of outdoor advertisement in the city, untimely had obliged the authorities to ban issuance of permission to erect any new signboards and billboards on roads, whilst the illegal practice could not be halted hitherto entirely, it has been learnt.

These unattractive and illegal signboards and hoarding boards are not only posing risk to lives of citizens but also giving an ugly face to the city.According to the by-laws, there should be a distance of at least 200 feet in between each board, which is being ignored, while the sizes of these illegal boards were also beyond the size allowed in the by-laws.

Sources said that despite the ban on installation of new signboards in the city, Advertisement Department of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) issued permission letters to advertising companies to erect billboards and signboards. Permissions were allotted to erect dozens of illegal signboards in connivance with the officials of advertisement department of KMC after the ban. However, some 150 sites were erected in various areas of the city during last two to three months, they claimed.

A few months ago a committee was formulated for conducting an inquiry regarding unauthorised advertising signboards, which marked some 50 boards in city against the by-laws.Afterwards, the illegal signboards were removed but after a very short spell these advertisement boards reappeared. Sources said despite the violations of rules were pointed out many times, whereas, ‘blue-eyed’ companies were still being granted permissions on favouritism and complaints in this regard were not being entertained.

They noted that these advertisers were being allowed to erect signboards in city against heavy kickbacks by the officials concerned of the department.

The officials told that KMC is again considering launching crackdown against the illegal signboards and hoardings. In this regard, directives have been issued to the relevant department to submit the list of illegal advertising boards in the city so that stern action could be taken.The sources said the leniency of the KMC resulted in mushrooming of signboards unlawfully and later the authority had to launch an operation against those illegal billboards, which would incur million rupees of loss to advertisers.

They suggested that the corporation should nip the evil in the bid as operation was not a solution of the issue.It is to be recalled here that the Chairman Chief Minister Inspection Team had been asked to conduct enquiry against Director Advertisement KMC Akhtar Ali Sheikh for corruption charges and illegal activities that incurred highly loss to the government revenue.

In a letter dated January 30, Special Assistant to Sindh Chief Minister (CM) for Public Complaints Cell Imtiaz Hussain Mallah had asked the chairman to look into the matter personally and take immediate necessary action by conducting an impartial enquiry as per rules.The complaint addressing the CM forwarded by Syed Owais Ali Naqvi of On Air Media Agency and Muhammad Rafiq of Classic Advertisement charged on Director Advertisement KMC Akhtar Ali Shaikh of bribe from advertisers.It was also noted in the letter that Shaikh has become an advertiser himself with the different names of companies. – Dailytimes